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    UC Berkeley’s Architecture & Design Summer Programs

    UC Berkeley’s Architecture & Design Summer Programs


    • Listing Type: Summer Programs
    • Destination: United States
    • Program Delivery: Day, Residential
    • Provided By: College
    • Session Start: July
    • Session Length: Four Weeks, Five Weeks
    • Entering Grade: 11th, 12th, PG, College
    • Gender: Coed
    • Category: Academic
    • Sub-Categories: Architecture, College Application, STEM, Design, Career Exploration, Environmental Science
    • Selective: Yes
    • Ages: 15, 16, 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Minimum Cost: > $3,000
    • Career Clusters: Architecture and Construction
    • Credit Awarded: Yes
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    The College of Environmental Design offers summer programs for high school students and beyond. Explore architecture, urban design and sustainable city planning by immersing yourself in studio, lectures, discussion sections, digital design and field trips. Enjoy ample studio time, 1:1 critiques and showcasing your work. No prior design experience is necessary. Successful students will develop a portfolio for university applications and earn an official UC Berkeley transcript.

    UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design offers several summer programs for students interested in architecture, landscape architecture and city planning & urban design. International students are welcome and encouraged to participate. No prior experience in design is necessary. Successful students will build a quality portfolio that can be used for further academic pursuits.

    • embARC is a 4-week program for rising 11th and 12th grade high school students.
    • DISC is a 5-week program for current college students

    The embARC Summer Design Academy is comprised of the following components that together provide a comprehensive framework and multi-disciplinary approach to "placemaking":

    ARCHITECTURE + URBAN DESIGN STUDIO - Instruction in freehand sketching, drafting, model building and digital representation teaches students how to conceptualize and communicate two and three-dimensional design ideas.

    SUSTAINABLE CITY PLANNING WORKSHOP - Students engage as genuine stakeholders and participants in a community change process through site observations, research and the development of an authentic urban planning question.

    ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN CONVERSATION SERIES - Presentations and talks by invited professional practitioners and CED-based guest lecturers provide a framework for the ideas and methods that support the theory and practice of environmental design. Students are given the opportunity to engage in the discourses of the discipline in guided discussion groups.

    DIGITAL DESIGN WORKSHOP - Building skills in digital representation, this series of focused workshops prepares students for technology-driven college-level design curricula, while also introducing participants to the latest software and digital tools available in the profession.  

    Participating in embARC allows students to:

    • Explore architecture, urban design and city planning as possible college majors and careers
    • Develop skills through college-level coursework
    • Immerse themselves in design studio culturebuild a design portfolio to use when applying to college
    • Work with peers who have similar interests
    • Earn a certificate of completion and 1 unit of credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript
    • Utilize acquired skills and make an impact on a community issue by participating in an improvement project with a local non-profit


    DISC (Design and Innovation for Sustainable Cities) is for college students interested in learning how to address the urgent issues of climate change, urban health and social equity through design of the built environment. The program fosters a multidisciplinary and international learning environment that empowers students with the tools and expertise necessary to craft innovative design-based solutions.

    Guided by UC Berkeley faculty, expert professionals, designers, makers & entrepreneurs, DISC students confront the most pressing challenges facing cities. Through studio sessions, lectures, workshops and field work, students have the opportunity to test their own creative ideas while working with some of the most renowned researchers and practitioners from the San Francisco Bay Area.

    DISC alumni have been accepted to graduate programs at Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Rice, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, Yale and at UC Berkeley.

    The program is built upon four main platforms:

    • The Urban Innovation Seminar and Global Cities/Global Challenges Seminar establish the program's theoretical framework.
    • The Studio Sessions and Digital Workshops are at the core of the program, honing fundamental making skills and empowering students to craft their own design solutions. Working in teams, students develop a project from design conception to prototyping, and present the final results of their work to instructors and guest critics.
    • Field Work and Site Visits will give students an opportunity to engage directly with the dynamic built and natural environments of the Bay Area, using it as a living laboratory for study.
    • The Guest Lecture Series exposes students to some of the most renowned and forward-thinking researchers and practitioners in the Bay Area.

    Benefits of attending DISC:

    • Identify and explore the major debates around global urbanization and sustainability.
    • Understand the potentials and limitations of design and technology interventions.
    • Construct a project that spans from concept to design to plan to fabrication.
    • Connect with a network of highly engaged peers, faculty and practitioners.
    • Earn college-level credit on an official UC Berkeley transcript.

    Check out our website for student work and what our alumni say about the programs!

    Cost and Session Information

    Program begins: July 3, 2023

    Program ends: July 28, 2023 (embARC, 4 weeks) and August 4, 2023 (DISC, 5 weeks)

    Application Deadline: May 1 (for all embARC and all international applicants) and May 15 (for domestic DISC applicants)

    Cost: ~$4800 (domestic visiting students), ~$7600 (international students)